A Predator Returns: How the third film in the series took a decidedly darker turn

A Predator Returns - Credit: Kate Eisemann
A Predator Returns - Credit: Kate Eisemann /

The Stalker’s Prey series returns tonight on Lifetime with the newest film in the series, titled A Predator Returns. You might have seen the previous films, Stalker’s Prey and A Predator’s Obsession (or Stalker’s Prey 2). Now killer and shark-obsessive Bruce Kane is back, this time pretending to be a shark researcher at an isolated lighthouse where high school student Courtney and her friends have decided to go swimming.

After a fling, Courtney can’t seem to shake Bruce from her life as he starts turning up around every corner with his own deadly intentions. The film stars Houston Stevenson, Leigha Sinnott and Hannah Jane McMurray.

We had the chance to chat with director Colin Theys, who returns to direct this film after the previous two! He was excited to return to the project, and this time, the film takes a decidedly darker turn with what has been called the scariest entry into the series. We talked about his inspiration for this film, the creepy location and whether there is potential for another movie!

Chatting with A Predator Returns director Colin Theys

1428 Elm: So, I haven’t actually seen the first two films in the series, but I was impressed with A Predator Returns and thought it was really fun to watch.

Colin Theys: Thank you, I’m very excited for people to see this one. You know, we aim to make each one so they could work either as a standalone or a sequel, which is an interesting challenge in its own right. I’m always curious to know what people who have or haven’t seen the previous films think.

A Predator Returns
A Predator Returns director Colin Theys /

1428 Elm: This movie is supposedly the darkest chapter and has more of a horror vibe than the other two. Was that something you planned ahead of time, or did it happen naturally?

Colin Theys: We planned to take it in a darker direction. It was an interesting experience for me. I hadn’t done a second sequel before, and you kind of have to top the previous one while fitting in the same feeling and tone. Where do you go?

The second one, at the end, he has the lead’s younger brother in a shock collar and is threatening to shock him unless she agrees to marry him over a soup dinner. It’s hilarious. It’s like, where do we go from there? All of us on the production team have been horror fans forever. We used to work for Chiller quite a bit before they went away. We wished earlier that we could go into a heavier horror direction and go a little darker.

1428 Elm: Were you guys inspired by any other specific horror movies when making A Predator Returns?

Colin Theys: For me, especially the second one, it was Night of the Hunter, I don’t know if you’re familiar, but it’s an old Robert Mitchum movie. I loved how he believed he was on this divine mission and was unafraid because he thought if it wasn’t meant to be, he would fail. That was my motivation for this movie.

When you’re doing a stalker movie, in many ways, it’s more of a thriller than a horror film directly, but where that line lies is an interesting discussion –– similarly, what makes a movie a slasher versus a thriller, is a question I love to ask people.

But the main psychological, scary factor is that stalker, the killer, the bad guy. Finding the headspace to make this character who is obsessed with sharks and stalking and all these weird quirks, the villain and the draw for these movies. I went back and referenced scary characters from the past, and [Night of the Hunter] was one I drew on quite a bit.

A Predator Returns
A Predator Returns – Credit: Kate Eisemann /

1428 Elm: Speaking of the sharks, and the location, did you guys get to use real shark footage or CGI?

Colin Theys: Basically all of the sharks in the movie are CG. There are like two that are real sharks. I find it challenging because you want to be consistent. Even if your effect isn’t the best, you want it to be the same. But yeah, the location in this movie was really cool and really challenging and part of what drew all of us to this story and me specifically, thinking about that lighthouse and that environment and trying to find something that fit that the criteria was tough.

We had a place when we started out, there is this famous haunted lighthouse in New London, Connecticut. It’s on a tiny island like five feet longer than the lighthouse. But their power cable was severed, so it was really impractical for shooting on.

[The set] is a construction of a real lighthouse that is on a manmade island at the end of a half-mile breakwater, and the house is just a house that we cut out from another neighborhood and put on this on this island.

It was an ambitious attempt at putting this location together out of other locations on this kind of budget and schedule. Hopefully, it was worth it. One of my favorite things about this movie was the setup of the lighthouse beam and the house and the path between them. It was a challenge getting to that lighthouse. We had to take a boat up there and carry equipment up a ladder. The dock you see people using in the movie is the dock we used to load up.

1428 Elm: I thought it looked great because it looked like a real haunted area to me, which is why I thought it could be on location. Do you think that there could be a fourth installment in this series?

Colin Theys: Now that you know how it ends, I would say no, but I also said no last time. Maybe! We’re certainly open to it. There actually have been treatments for another one, but I don’t know how serious they are. It remains to be seen on how people receive this one.

Watch the teaser for A Predator Returns below:

Next. Greatest horror movie set in every state. dark

A Predator Returns premieres tonight at 8/7c on Lifetime.